There are prints of a Secundino Sandoval painting “Summerfest” hanging in people’s homes and offices around Los Alamos. The scene shows a farmers’ market-like setting, but set on Central Avenue in front of CB OX.
Don Taylor has one in his home. The Chamber has one thumbtacked to the wall over the photo copier. For many, the significance of that print has been unnoticed and the details of its origin long forgotten. It is a Sec Sandoval painting. And it has people in it. Sec doesn’t paint people. He paints nature scenes and Fuller Lodge and trees.
The painting was commissioned for the Chamber of Commerce in 1996 by Chamber board member Emily McGay. In addition to being on the board of the Chamber, McGay was president of the Kiwanis’ and had previously commissioned Sandoval to do a painting of Fuller Lodge.
The Fuller Lodge painting became a highly successful fundraiser with the now well known image replicated on cards and posters. McGay hoped to do the same thing by having Sandoval create a special painting to commemorate Summerfest.
The Summerfest painting, in addition to being a silent auction item at the Chamber Dinner the night before Summerfest, also became the promotional poster for Summerfest.
The promotional prints are labeled Summerfest August 18, 1996 – which is the date of the first Summerfest. The event name was changed to Chamberfest a few years later when Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation took over operation of the Chamber.
The promotional prints did not come out well and are much lighter than the original painting, lacking the depth of color and vibrancy of the painted work. The prints more closely resemble watercolor paintings.
Along with many other items, the original Summerfest painting was auctioned off the night of August 17, 1996. Only one bidder put his name down on the silent auction sheet. The painting was valued at $1,200. Roger Waterman bid $1,300 for it.
In Waterman and McGay’s home, the original Summerfest painting hangs next to the original Fuller Lodge painting, which McGay won in the Kiwanis fundraising raffle.